"The note '' is too long to sync. Shorten the note and sync again."

I'm getting the above error message when Zotero syncs a book-type item with the book itself in an attached pdf file. The file has a whole bunch of bookmarks to places in the file: chapters, sections, etc. These are showing up in a Zotero note attached to the link to the pdf file in the item entry in Zotero.

Since the bookmarks are useful, I don't want to delete them. However, it's true that the bookmarks are a bit overdone, but it would take hours to figure out what each one does and to decide whether or not to keep it. I'm fine with keeping the pdf file as is and living with some superfluous bookmarks.

But apparently Zotero's not fine with this. How can one delete the note or otherwise get Zotero to sync the record with the large note and not complain?
  • How large are we talking about? I though Zotero notes can hold something like 30,000 characters before sync breaks. You can just click in the note below the PDF and then select all to delete its contents, but I'm still puzzled what's going on here. Simple bookmarks shouldn't be that large.
  • The limit is 250,000 characters, which is a huge amount of text (which is why this is almost always caused by an embedded image, though that should generally produce a different error).
  • it would take hours to figure out what each one does and to decide whether or not to keep it
    I'm not sure what you mean by this. If you're using a current version of Zotero, when you get the error, there should be a button to select the note in question.
  • edited March 20, 2018
    Actually, after reading your comments and conducting further inspection, there is no note attached to the item, despite what the error message says. All that's there is (1) the top-level record for the item's metadata (Info, Note, Tags, and Related) and (2) the link to the stored pdf file itself.

    The error message offers a button labeled, "Show Item in Library," and selecting this button results in the link being highlighted. Over in the bibliographic information pane (BIP), the top looks like the top of an ordinary note, but most of the pane is taken up with links (pdf bookmarks) to different parts of the book (the attached pdf file).

    There is no "note below the PDF." Instead, what seems to be showing is the link to a stored PDF, and a note attached to the link record for the stored pdf itself.

    I did, however, try to delete all the links showing up in the BIP, as you suggest. But when I restarted Zotero, the links returned. My guess is they're coming from the PDF file itself, and Zotero refreshes the list each time it loads.

    By saying "it would take hours ...," what I mean is that there are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of links to the book. If I were to delete them, I would first want to see what each link is pointing to. Doing this for several hundred links, including exploring the link's destination in the PDF file and deciding to keep it or not, would take hours.

    Yes, the error message has a button, but it takes one to the pdf link rather than to an ordinary note, and the pdf's bookmarks seem to be populating the note-like field associated with the link to the PDF.
  • If the button is taking you to an attachment, it’s referring to the attachment’s embedded note that shows in the right-hand pane. How did you generate the note? To get this message, the note would have to contain either an enormous amount of text/HTML or an embedded image.
  • I'm a bit confused, but we're talking about this note, right?

    It just has a large table of contents (generated by ZotFile, btw.) of the PDF/book -- correct?

    The question is why that is so big. Even with the link syntax, 250,000 characters seems enormous for a ToC
  • @dstillman ZotFile auto-extract PDF table of contents using PDF bookmarks.
    Here's an example screenshot: https://imgur.com/a/Jl8jP

    And the note html:

    <p id="title"><strong>Contents</strong></p>
    <ul id="toc" style="list-style-type: none; padding-left: 0px;">
    <li><a href="zotero://open-pdf/0_UN3X3EJA/1">1. Introduction</a></li>
    <li style="padding-top: 4px;"><a href="zotero://open-pdf/0_UN3X3EJA/2">2. People experiencing travel-related impairments</a></li>
    <li style="padding-top: 4px;"><a href="zotero://open-pdf/0_UN3X3EJA/3">3. Basic framework for priority setting</a></li>
    <li style="padding-top: 4px;"><a href="zotero://open-pdf/0_UN3X3EJA/5">4. Developing cost-benefit analysis as a priority setting tool</a></li>
    <li style="padding-top: 4px;"><a href="zotero://open-pdf/0_UN3X3EJA/6">5. Developing the hardship principle</a></li>
    <li style="padding-top: 4px;"><a href="zotero://open-pdf/0_UN3X3EJA/8">6. Conclusion and discussion</a></li>
    <li style="padding-top: 4px;"><a href="zotero://open-pdf/0_UN3X3EJA/8">Acknowledgements</a></li>
    <li style="padding-top: 4px;"><a href="zotero://open-pdf/0_UN3X3EJA/8">References</a></li>

    Entirely unclear how that would go to 250k characters, though
  • edited March 20, 2018

    Nope. We're talking about this note: https://www.evernote.com/l/AAcrnuwSCoxA0Jo6fRFlZb49YS9FgSgG_fE

    I don't think Zotfile is generating these links, as the actual PDF file has all of them as bookmarks, as far a I can tell.

    (BTW, if it's this easy for you guys to see what's in a user's library file, better be careful about privacy & security. Look what's happening to Facebook!)

    P.S. Is there a way I can generate a link to the note itself in Zotero? The link is to just a screenshot, which is stored in Evernote.
  • These are screenshots from my library, not yours. I obviously have no access to your library whatsoever.
    And if your note looks similar to the 2nd one I posted, that's absolutely Zotfile, which extracts the bookmarks in PDFs into a Zotero note for ease of access. Deleting them in Zotero doesn't delete the bookmarks in a PDF itself.
  • Whew! I misunderstood you and see now you said "example screenshot."

    Now I also understand that you're saying Zotfile reproduces the links in Zotero, even though they originally appear as bookmarks in the PDF file.

    Yes, mine looks like that except with many more bookmarks, and their names are weird. But they're weird in the PDF file too.

    Before, when I tried doing what you suggested, the bookmarks came back in the note. Now this time, since I'm also trying to track down a misbehaving add-on, I deleted the links in the note and immediately restarted Zotero. When Zotero came back on, the links were gone.

    This seems to solve the problem for now. If the links reappear, I'll let you know. Sorry I didn't understand what you were getting at sooner. Thanks for all the help.
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